30 Productive Ways to Keep Busy Between Jobs

If you’re like me, you probably don’t like to spend too much time sitting around.

I get stressed if I don’t have a project to work on.

If you’re a freelancer, you likely have an unpredictable schedule. Sometimes that means you have a lot to do, other weeks are slow. I’m in a slow week right now, actually, after a really busy one, last week.

So, how do I keep busy between jobs, to keep my brain and body active?

Here are my best tips for staying busy while you’re waiting for work:

Tech To Do List During Downtime

1) Build a New Website (or Revamp Your Old One)

Does your company have a good website ready to go?

Are you still waiting to build one, or looking for ideas?

Or maybe your website is ready, but it needs to be updated.

Now’s a great time. Update old articles, get rid of design flaws, make sure all your links work. Ideally, you’re doing this regularly, anyway. But it’s a great way to spend down time, and it pays off!

2) Client outreach

When was the last time you did some client outreach?

That can mean reminding old clients that you’re available, checking in with them, making sure you’re following up on projects, sending out thank you cards. Whatever you owe your clients, get to it!

3) Clean House

It’s never a bad time to clean.

Get that vacuum out. I know, cleaning is stressful for some of us, and relaxing for others. I fit into the first category, so I need to spend these slow days really digging into  a thorough house clean.

4) Build a Business Plan

What’s your 5 year plan?

Or your 10 year plan?

Do you have even a 1 year plan?

Think about sitting down with a business manager and putting together a clear business plan for yourself. If you can’t afford one starting out, it’s okay. Do what you can, and put some plans into place.

5) Update a Social Media Account

Is your social media account up to date? Maybe it’s time to go through all your socials and make sure they’re updated. Get rid of old posts that aren’t as professional or on-brand as your new ones.

Update new information where needed!

Garden and Get Fresh Air during your downtime

6) Garden

This is a great way to get some time outside, make your home prettier, and grow something nice. Whether you’re grownig food or flowers, your garden can be a great and relaxing extension of your life.

While this might not contribute to your work life, I believe self-care is a vital part of productivity. Take care of the plants around you.

7) Exercise

Stay healthy!

Get those weights out of the closet and start exercising. Any new exercise regimen should be discussed with your trainer or doctor.

Staying healthy means you can be more effective for your clients.

8) Organize Office Supplies

Have you checked out your office supply stash recently? Do you have enough printer ink and paper?

What about pens?

Go through your office supplies, and make sure you have what you need. Organize things so they’re easier to find.

Organize, sort, and declutter during downtime.

9) Take a Class

What skill set do you wish you had? Anything you want to know how to do that could increase your income?

Or maybe you just want to learn something so you don’t have to hire someone every time you need to do some basic graphic design or writing.

Learn a language, brush up on a skill, or add to your resume.

10) Practice a Skill

What area of your job would you most like to improve in?

Maybe you’re not at a point where taking a class is useful, but perhaps practicing a skill is.

If it’s web design, build a site for your friend or family member. Play around. Get better. Improve your skill set!

11) Write

How many of us have real down time throughout the week?

Taking the time to write, outline, or plan your next posts or articles, especially if you’re a blogger, can save you a ton of work down the line. I think this is maybe the best way to keep busy between jobs.

Woman Napping

12) Brainstorm Ideas for Your Next Project

Maybe you’re starting a new business, writing a book, or prepping for a marathon. Whatever you’re doing, taking some down time to prepare and plan is a great way to make use of your spare time.

13) Apply to Gigs

If you thought I was going to let you off the hook on this, you were wrong. Apply to new gigs! This is a great way to meet more clients, get your work out there, and hustle.

Life shouldn’t be all hustle, but down time is a good time to be proactive.

14) Whittle Down Emails

How many unanswered emails are in your inbox? Can you sort, delete, or reply to any of them? Get to it!

15) Organize Your Email List

You’ve probably been growing an email list for your work. Think about organizing it a bit more. Are there different campaigns that might appeal to different sections of the list? When was the last time you checked out the analytics and did some reconfiguring?

16) Build Your Next Email Campaign

Jumping off that…

Build your next email campaign.

I stress about this, because it’s an area I’m still working on. If you don’t believe me, just sign up for my newsletter and prepare yourself for… nothing. I only have the welcome email set up, as of writing this post.

Yikes, me!

I need to get on this. It’s probably in the top most productive ways to keep busy between jobs for me.

17) Add New Plugins to Your Website

…or update your old ones. When did you last login to something besides your blog? Have you got a web manager, or is it just you? Are you just automatically updating plugins, rather than analyzing to make sure you’re running the latest and greatest?

Years ago, I had websites going where I didn’t even have a mailing list plugin. Now I have one going, and at least it works! But it took me a while to get there. Updating plugins can keep your functionality alive and increase your website’s appeal.

18) Backups: Your Website, Computer, etc.

When did you last back up everything?

Get a hard drive and run a backup. Or use Carbonite (or similar) if you need to.

Free Time Checklist

19) Family time

I can’t count how often I’ve used spare time to hang out with family or friends.

It’s not ideal in a pandemic, but catch up with people when you can.

20) Clean Your Computer

This could be physical or digital, but keep it clean and up to date. I recommend using professional help rather than just deleting old files willy-nilly. If you don’t know what to delete, you might crash your system.

But if you have 27 copies of the same picture in the same format and size, you might be able to delete 20 of those, say, and free up some space.

21) Organize Your Home Office

When did you last organize your home office? I’m not just talking supplies.

Move your desk to a new corner of the room. Consider a new office chair or new lights. Get your place comfortable for working!

22) Rearrange Your Home

I find it’s nice to come home to a place that has a new look. It might be repainting or moving a piece of furniture around or hanging some new art.

But whatever it is, that can freshen your home. And feeling like your space is fresh and well taken care of can make you feel more productive.

23) Buy a Plant

I did this at the start of quarantine, and I’m so glad I did! It makes the home a lot cheerier. I don’t have a garden, because of my current small-apartment situation, but a plant is a great way to add some greenery to the house.

24) Make a Budget

Financial planning is important. Consider going over your last few months of earnings and making a budget.

I use Mint, but a lot of people use other things.

25) Learn New Recipes

This is one of my favorite ways to switch things up at home, without spending a lot of money.

Learn some new recipes and cook something fresh for your family or yourself!

26) Do Some Planning for Retirement

Hopefully, those of us who like to work can keep working endlessly.

But, planning for retirement is still important. You don’t know when you might become ill or unable to work, and having a plan in place is important.

27) Do Some Advertising

When did you last advertise your business? Ever? Try advertising now. Post on social media, if you don’t have an ad budget.

Tips for Free Time:Write Your Passion Project

28) Write a Book

What subject are you an expert in? Or have you always wanted to write a novel? Now’s a great time to write an ebook. Ebook sales are a good way to increase your passive streams of income.

What other things do you do to keep busy between jobs? Let me know in the comments!